Heritage: State Makes Church Choose Between Conscience and Service


Charles Donovan at the Heritage Foundation writes in the Kansas City Star:

Our nation's simmering conscience wars have claimed another victim: the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, Ill. Once again, the conflict centered on the legal redefinition of marriage and family. But at a deeper level, what's at stake is the future of moral and religious liberty.

... The news from Illinois points up the fact that even civil unions legislation can threaten religious conscience, particularly if legislators refuse, as they did in Springfield, to approve meaningful conscience exemptions.

... The argument that laws like those of Massachusetts and Illinois are really about non-discrimination and tolerance rings hollow. In both jurisdictions, Catholic Charities was willing to refer unmarried couples, including homosexuals, to other agencies that had no moral objection to placements outside the traditional family.

"Diversity" in such matters implies a variety of agencies and policies, not state-imposed uniformity. Would our nation have more diverse grocers if the state mandated that every establishment offer the same product line? Tolerance on matters of religious and moral conviction is meaningless if individuals and institutions are shorn of their liberty to act in keeping with their core values.

Since this article was published Catholic adoption agencies in Joliet and Peoria, IL have also announced their intention to opt out.